Calling it "the toughest decision in my coaching career," manager Jürgen Klinsmann took a stab at justifying his decision to leave Landon Donovan off the USMNT's 23-man World Cup roster.

Despite all kinds of rumors flying—it's natural, after such a shocking decision—Klinsmann's first public comments on the roster indicate that this came down to a simple matter of skill. "I just see some other players slightly ahead of him," Klinsmann said.

"I have to make the decisions what is good today for this group going into Brazil, and there I just think that the other guys right now are a little bit ahead of him. And I told him that, and he understands it, but obviously he's very disappointed."

That's hard to swallow, considering the likes of Julian Green made the team. But Klinsmann couldn't really say anything else. The potentially reasonable rationale that this World Cup is about preparing the young guys for 2018 went out the window when he included Brad Davis and Chris Wondolowski.

But at least Klinsmann made it sound like he agonized over the decision. His son did not.